I’ve been wanting to write this to you for a long time, but I didn’t have the courage to send it so what would be the point? I still don’t think I have the courage, so if you’re reading this, I’m not sure how I managed to get it to you.
I don’t know exactly what you think of me. I don’t know what you think I feel… who you think I am. But I have thought for so long that you should know… because I’d be willing to bet it’s not what you think.
This is not me being upset that you don’t understand me. I don’t expect you to understand. And unless you’re me, you won’t… you couldn’t. That’s why I wanted to write this—so you would have an idea what my life is like. Just telling you that I’ve been ‘sad and anxious’ every once in a while doesn’t begin to touch my reality.
When I wake up each morning, my thoughts aren’t about what I’m going to do today. They’re about how I’m going to make it through the day… because I never think I’m going to. I make lists in my head and on paper of things to do. I have no shortage of things to add to those lists. But I do none of them. I’m not lazy, I’m incapable. Okay, maybe I am lazy… but why I’m lazy is the issue. I have no drive… no motivation. My head just keeps repeating, ‘what’s the point?’
It’s difficult to explain how hard it is for me to simply ‘do stuff’. I see how productive people are and I’m envious. Then I see myself. Doing the tiniest thing is like moving a mountain. Many days, even getting out of bed feels impossible. With what’s going on in the world right now, people have more time to do things. And they do them. People have accomplished more in a month than I have in years. I’m ‘lucky‘ I always have time due to my lack of job, yet I incapable of using that time to my advantage. I feel like such a failure. And I’m always thinking, ‘What the hell is wrong with me?‘… even though I know.
My NP tells me that I should recognize the things that I do accomplish. But they’re not like other peoples’ accomplishments. They’re things like getting out of bed, making myself breakfast, doing the dishes, cooking dinner… you get the idea. Basic things that most people do without a thought. For me, though, they are huge. But when I do them, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything because ‘normal’ people do these things without a second thought. ‘Normal’ people do far more. Some days, I can’t bear knowing that. It makes me feel weak and pathetic… which is what I think I am.
When I hear about people’s daily life—what they’re doing, what they’ve accomplished, I think about my life and I fall apart because my life is so empty. I don’t mean with respect to my family. I know people love me. What I mean is inside me. I’m not confident. I never have been. I don’t like myself. My mind is always drawn to the bad. I usually only see the good if someone points it out to me. I don’t see it on my own. I need my own personal cheerleader sitting on my shoulder at all times.
I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I just wish you knew how my world is… how it feels… so you won’t think I’m just lazy or making excuses. I want to explain why ‘cheer up’ and ‘snap out of it’ or ‘just do [fill in the blank]’ are not simple for me. It’s so much deeper than anyone outside of my own head can truly understand.
My days are like this: force myself to get out of bed, straighten up kitchen, have some panic with my breakfast, possibly go back to sleep, force myself (and it’s hard) to shower and get ready (and many days, cry in the shower because I can’t let the kids see that), try to do things—any things—so my day doesn’t feel empty and wasted, panic some more, fail at doing things [or on the rare occasion, maybe do some little things, but thinking ‘what’s the point?’ the entire time], get my ass to the kitchen to make dinner, eat, clean up, watch tv, feel that my day was empty and wasted, and fall asleep hoping I can make it through tomorrow.
I don’t expect that you knew it was like this for me. How could you? Even after reading this, no one can really get it without living it. No one can feel the pain I have to somehow get through every single day. And speaking of pain, I didn’t even touch upon the constant back pain that’s thrown on top of all of this. It’s horrible. It’s devastating.
I have panic attacks several times a week. Some are really bad. Others are mild by comparison [if there is such a thing as a mild panic attack… sounds like an oxymoron to me].
I make jokes about this… about myself… even though it’s serious because humor is one of the ways I try to deal with things. Sometimes it helps.
There’s only so much medication can do. It’s not a cure. There is no cure. That is maybe most devastating of all. It’s hard to be hopeful. It’s hard to feel happy. I had an amazing childhood. Wonderful parents made it fun, happy, memorable. I don’t know exactly when my brain went to hell, but it’s been there for years. A lot of years. More than half of my life.
I don’t blame anyone but myself. I tend to think I brought this on because of my many poor life choices. But the truth is that it is an illness, like any other, only this one doesn’t have obvious external symptoms… it has painful internal ones. And it has no cure.
I’m not looking for pity. Just know that when I say, ‘it’s hard for me to [fill in the blank],’ it truly is. Everything, usually except eat and sleep, is hard for me. Writing this was hard for me. Sharing it is even harder.
p.s. — I don’t like the thought of anyone feeling like they have to walk on eggshells around me or not share things with me because they might make me feel sad. That actually makes me feel worse. I guess just know that sometimes it’s hard for me to hear some things, but it’s not your fault… It’s mine.
p.p.s. — To my readers: I have never shared this with my family and I probably never will.